The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has welcomed the new foreign policy announcements made today by Prime Minister Scott Morrison – regarding Jerusalem, UN voting, policy toward Iran and upgrading defence ties with Israel – calling them “courageous, measured and principled.”
AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler said “recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – something the government now says it is seriously considering – would right a longstanding injustice, as Israel is the only state in the world which the international community insists has no right to choose its own capital. West Jerusalem, where the Knesset and the other main organs of the Israeli government are located, has been sovereign Israeli territory since 1948. No one doubts that any negotiated two-state peace agreement would see Jerusalem remain as Israel’s capital.”
Dr Colin Rubenstein, AIJAC’s Executive Director, argued “Australia’s bipartisan policy of supporting a two state peace would be better served by recognising the simple fact that Jerusalem is and has been Israel’s capital, and not submitting to Palestinian threats and extortion. Not only the US but a number of other countries, including Russia, the Czech Republic, Vanuatu and Guatemala, now acknowledge this incontrovertible reality.”
“Equally important,” Dr. Rubenstein said “is the commitment to review Australian policy toward Iran. Frankly, our current policy of adherence to the JCPOA nuclear deal is not serving Australia’s most basic national interests, given both the opposition of the US Administration and most Arab states to it, and the reality that its provisions all but guarantee a nuclear-armed Iran in a few years time. Australia needs to develop a new policy toward Iran which forthrightly addresses the threat posed by an increasingly belligerent, expansionist and irresponsible Iran, the world’s foremost terror-sponsoring state – including working with Washington and others to take advantage of the Iranian regime’s increasing vulnerability to sanctions in strengthening the flawed nuclear deal and forcing change to the regime’s threatening rogue behaviour.”
“We also of course welcome the upgrading of defence ties – including the exchange of defence attachés – between Australia and Israel,” Rubenstein added.
AIJAC’s Director of International Affairs, Jeremy Jones commented “We are also very pleased to see the government reviewing its stance on UN voting concerning the Middle East. Far too many of the resolutions on the Middle East passed by the UN General Assembly are not only one-sided and biased, but unhelpful and counterproductive to achieving a just and lasting peace. While Australia’s voting record has generally acknowledged this, our bipartisan policy goals would be better served by voting ‘no’ on some of the resolutions on which Australia currently abstains.”
Mark Leibler concluded by stating “These new Australian foreign policy announcements are courageous, measured and principled and most welcome. We look forward to the results of the government’s reviews of its policies on Iran and Jerusalem.”
For additional information, contact Dr. Colin Rubenstein on (0418)-339-721 or AIJAC on (03)-9681-6660.